Four stories of invisable disability for #PurpleLights20

November 26 2020

This year the theme for United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, #IDPwD20, is people with invisible disabilities. Too often they, as well as their disability, are invisible.

Yet they number at least half a million in Ireland and are up to 80% of the 643,131 of Irish people with disabilities.

#PurpleLights organisers are the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.

 “Our message for Purple Lights 20 is don’t judge a disability by its visibility. These four people with invisible disabilities show why”, said Clare Cronin, Communications Manager.

Emily Larkin sitting by the sea

Emily Larkin is a student and founder of the Invisible Disability Group.

“I think people don’t really understand that a huge proportion of the population who are cocooning are people with invisible disabilities. I’m 20 years old, not over 65
Hannah Brison

Hannah Bryson is the Education officer at the UCD Student's Union and is Autistic.

Hannah recently acquired a leg injury due to her dyspraxia, a condition that makes it difficult to negotiate spaces. She has a medical exemption from wearing a face covering but as there is no overall system to acknowledge this, going out can be very fraught.

“You get dirty looks and comments from people.”, said Hannah.

Benat Broderick, age 16 is from Dublin, lives with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetically inherited disease that primarily affects the lungs. People with CF are at high /very high risk of Covid-19.

“Cystic Fibrosis is an invisible disease that from my own personal experiences gets mistaken as a “cold”.

I always say that “I wear my mask to protect you. Please wear your mask to help protect me”.  


Purple Lights founder and brain injury survivor Gary Kearney with the #PurpleLights19 Dublin Bus.

 “Most invisible disabilities put people in the high-risk category for Covid. Level 2, 3 or 5 doesn’t really matter to us we’re in permanent lockdown and totally misunderstood when we do venture out’’.

Click here to see our social media kit.



For further information contact;

DFI Communications Manager: Clare Cronin at 086 0277824, clarecronin@disability-federation.